Ever been tempted by the idea of making your own compost but not sure where to begin? Karen Cannard, our very own in-house Master Composter shares her top tips for International Compost Awareness Week, which runs from 4-10 May.
Spring is most definitely in full swing and now is the best time to take advantage of a fabulous way to turn all your kitchen peelings and garden waste into a valuable resource that can be put to good use in your garden. Even if you have a kerbside collection for organics, home composting is a much more eco-friendly way of taking charge of your waste and you get to keep all the nutrients too as well as save money on bagged compost from the garden centre.
If you’re a novice or have a small garden, your best bet is one of the easy-to-manage plastic compost bins and there are some great offers at the moment on the Get Composting website. However, you don’t even need to splash the cash to get started. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, there’s lots of advice and ideas on how to get creative with some old pallets, like this one at BBC Gardeners’ World.
Whatever bin you choose, follow our top tips to make the most of your waste-busting experience.
- Site your compost bin where it works best for you. A sunny spot is best to process the compost more quickly. However, it will also work in more shady areas. It will just take longer to break down. Most compost will be ready to use between 6-12 months.
- Make sure you include a good mix of ‘greens’ (e.g. vegetable peelings, grass clippings, tea bags) and ‘browns’ (e.g. egg cartons, torn-up cardboard, kitchen paper). If your compost is too wet, add more ‘browns’. Too dry? Try mixing in more ‘greens’ and perhaps a little water.
- Avoid putting any cooked food in your compost bin. If you want to compost food waste, wormeries come highly recommended. However, they should not be used for meat, fish or dairy. Other options that help tackle this include a Bokashi, Hotbin or Green Cone.
You don’t even need to be a keen vegetable grower to benefit from home-made compost. It’s actually great for just spreading around shrubs or flower-beds and using in patio tubs or hanging baskets or even to kick-start a small herb-garden.
So if you’re thinking of taking your first steps or need some inspiration in getting your old compost heap restarted, do send us your questions. More information about composting can be also be found at Garden Organic’s website www.homecomposting.org.uk.
Karen is a volunteer Master Composter in her home county of Suffolk and will also be heading along to the Rubbish Diet West London’s Beyond the Bin visit to see West London Compost on 15th May, click here for details.